The legal aid organization should ensure that all members receive orientation and training necessary for full and effective participation on the governing body.
Not all new members come to the governing body prepared for full and effective participation at the time they are selected. The organization should, therefore, strive to ensure that members obtain the required skills and knowledge by providing orientation and training.
New members should receive orientation that includes information on:
- An historical perspective of legal aid nationally and in the local community;
- The organization's structure, general operations and special programs;
- National and local sources of funding for legal aid, including local/statewide cases or laws (such as a right to counsel law) that may impact the provision of and funding for legal aid in the region;
- The nature of the legal services offered by the organization;
- Important characteristics of the client communities served by the organization;
- Any limitations or requirements imposed on the organization's operations by statutes, rules, regulations, funders, contracts, and lawyer and other professional or organizational ethical rules or obligations;
- The role, structure, and functioning of the governing body and its committees as well as that of any client or other advisory groups;
- Training on basic technology concepts and how to use technology safely and stay safe online, as well as training on all the technology tools and applications the organization's program uses and sponsors, and how to report problems and concerns with technology tools and applications. These trainings could be available online or in-person, as appropriate.
Generally, the organization should offer training to its governing body members as needed to be sure they have the skills and substantive knowledge needed to effectively participate in the governing body. Appropriate topics for training may include: legal requirements governing the operation of the organization; budgeting and accounting oversight; fundraising anddevelopments in legal services delivery and pertinent substantive legal issues; communication and meeting skills; cultural competence in order to increase the governing body's familiarity with issues it faces while serving diverse, client communities and to support effective communication with the the content of these Standards; and other subjects related to effective governing body operation.
Because members of the governing body are volunteers, they may have limited time for formal training apart from regular governing body activities. The organization should attempt to include necessary training as part of the agenda for regular meetings of the governing body when possible.